Written by Lydia in Gluten Free

“In the golden half-light of a midsummer’s evening…in the midst of a party held in a wild and rambling garden, stood Pierre, teetering on highly unsuitable heels, surrounded by a symphony of overripe roses”

The Man with the Dancing Eyes by Sophie Dahl 

June is the time of year when everything in the garden starts to burst into life. We have a beautiful rose bush in our garden which every time you pass it, has a heady smell of Turkish delight.  With this in mind, I was reminded of a couple of ice creams in Sophie Dahl’s From Season to Season cookbook that use garden flowers as flavours.  I made both of these successfully without the aid of an ice cream maker, but the blitzing of the custards during the freezing stages is crucial to break the ice crystal particles down so you get a smoother mouthfeel once it has completely frozen.  You will need to get the ice creams out about 5-10 minutes though before serving, as it won’t be as soft scoop as your shop-bought versions!  If you are a dab hand at making your own ice cream and have a basic custard ice cream mix that you know works well (ice cream maker version or not), just add these floral flavours to them and I am sure they will turn out beautifully.  Remember you can freeze your left over egg whites or for a more spectacular ice cream dessert, make chocolate meringues to go with your rose ice cream or plain meringues for you lavender!

Rose Petal Ice Cream

Tastes like a summer garden party

Ingredients

 Serves 4

 For the rose syrup:

500ml sparkling rose
40g caster sugar
20g fragrant rose petals, washed

For the ice cream:
egg yolks
125g caster sugar
500ml of double cream
500ml of milk

Method

  1. Pour the sparkling rose and sugar in a saucepan on a low heat.  Add the rose petals and keep on stirring until the sugar has dissolved.  Using a slotted spoon, remove half of the the rose petals and set aside.  Carry on reducing the sugar syrup on a medium heat until thick and syrupy.  Allow the mix to cool.
  2. In a separate bowl, cream the sugar and egg yolks until pale in colour and keep to the side.
  3. In a saucepan, heat the milk and cream until they reach boiling point.  Remove from the stove.  Whisking the whole time, temper the egg and sugar mixture by slowly adding the milk and cream to bring the egg up to the same temperature.  Add the rose syrup into the mix as well as the remaining rose petals.
  4. Churn in your ice-cream maker as per the instructions.  If you do not have an ice-cream maker, freeze the mixture in a plastic container for two hours. Remove from the freezer, pour into a blender and whizz for a minute or two. Pour back into the container. Freeze for another two hours, and repeat the process.  Freeze overnight to set fully and then serve.

Early Grey and Lavender Ice Cream

 Sophisticated in flavour and refreshing like iced tea

Ingredients

Serves 4

Muslin bag and string, for a bouquet garni
1 tbsp fresh chopped lavender leaves
4 tbsp loose Earl Grey tea leaves
egg yolks
125g caster sugar
500ml of double cream
500ml of milk

Method

  1. First make your bouquet garni by tying the lavender and Earl Grey tea leaves into the muslin bag. Make sure the string is tightly knotted. Put to one side.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream the egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy and keep to one side.
  3. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the cream, milk and bouquet garni of lavender and tea leaves up until boiling point, and then remove from the stove.
  4. Temper the egg and sugar mixture by slowly adding the infused cream to bring the egg up to the same temperature, whisking all the time. Strain the mixture and then allow it to cool.
  5. Churn in your ice-cream maker as per the instructions.  If you do not have an ice-cream maker, freeze the mixture in a plastic container for two hours. Remove from the freezer, pour into a blender and whizz for a minute or two. Pour back into the container. Freeze for another two hours, and repeat the process.  Freeze overnight to set fully and then serve.

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